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Ancient Woodland and the Planning System

Ancient woodland is an irreplaceable habitat. The National Planning Practice Guidance paragraph 118 states that

planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and the loss of aged or veteran trees found outside ancient woodland, unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location clearly outweigh the loss;’

The Forestry Commission is a non-statutory consultee on developments in or within 500m of an ancient woodland (paragraphs 021 and 022). 

We have published joint Standing Advice with Natural England on Ancient Woodlands and Veteran Trees.  The Standing Advice refers to an Assessment Guide which sets out a series of questions to help planners assess the impact of the proposed development on the ancient woodland. Case Decisions demonstrates how certain previous planning decisions have taken planning policy into account when considering the impact of proposed developments on ancient woodland.

The government’s Keepers of Time policy explains further the importance of ancient woodland, and the policy priorities for protecting and improving ancient woodland.

If you wish to consult the Forestry Commission in relation to these issues please contact your local Forestry Commission Area Office

Last updated: 9th August 2016